O'Sullivan: I want to be the Lionel Messi of snooker

Updated: 

Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are not names regularly associated with snooker, but Ronnie O'Sullivan has set his sights on joining those global greats in being the biggest entertainer in his sport.

O'Sullivan has long been snooker's biggest attraction, his success on the table and maverick character making him a favourite at the box office.

And the five-time world champion is keen to give the ticket-buying public their money's worth when they pay to watch him play, vowing to put entertainment first as he looks to add to an already vast trophy haul.

"I'm in the entertainment business and I'm also in the business of winning tournaments, but I feel like I've done that," he told BBC Sport.

"I still want to win tournaments but for me it's just about people coming to watch, switching on their TV - they want to see good entertainment.

"I think that's so important. I think it's okay to win but I want to do that with style and I think I've done that over the last five or six years and put some magnificent performances out there, performances that I'm very proud of.

"Sometimes people say you can't play like that and win. Well MVG [darts world champion Michael van Gerwen] has proved that you can, Lionel Messi proves that you can, Tiger Woods does, Roger Federer does.

"So I want to try and be one of them. I want to try and win playing an exciting, aggressive, attacking game so that the people who watch say 'he don't [sic] just win, he delivers on entertainment as well'."

O'Sullivan begins his quest for a record seventh Masters crown against English Open champion Liang Wenbo on Sunday.